A Letterkenny student is putting the environment first as she competes in a beauty pageant with a difference.

Kirsty O’Donnell is one of two young Donegal women who are finalists in the Miss Earth Ireland contest. The competition promotes environmental awareness, conservation, sustainability and social responsibility, alongside a beauty theme. Also competing this year is Nicole Harron from Donegal Town.

This week is charity week, and green-fingered Kirsty was busy raising funds for the environmental charity VOICE Ireland.

She visited her old primary school at Ballyraine NS to join the green schools team in a tree-planting session.

Kirsty said: “We had a great day of fun whilst helping our environment. I think it is so important to teach children about the value of caring for our environment from a young age so they can continue this throughout their lives. I thought planting trees was a great idea to involve children with helping our environment in a fun and hands-on way. 

“Caring for the environment is nothing new to Ballyraine National School however as a recognised green school with a green team I was a part of for many years they always take actions to care for the environment including having a polytunnel for fruit and vegetables, upcycling materials and homing hens. 

“We named the trees after two 6th class students Shayna and Daniel pictured below as they finish their journey in Ballyraine and move on to secondary school they made history planting trees and can watch them grow over the years as they too will.”

VOICE is a member-based Irish environmental charity that empowers individuals and local communities to take positive action to conserve our natural resources. VOICE advocates for the government and the corporate sector to adopt environmentally responsible behaviours, and for the development of strong national policies on waste and water issues.  

Kirsty said a special thanks Alcorn’s Flower and Garden Centre in Donegal for donating the trees to the school. 

She is now looking forward to the Miss Earth final on May 28th at Mount Falcon Estate, Ballina, Mayo, where 22 young women will be competing for the crown.

“Thank you to everyone for the support,” Kirsty said.